It’s always been pretty common for young adults in North Carolina to delay planning their estates. However, a recent trend of older people skipping out on the will writing process is even more of a problem. People over the age of 70 are now a lot more likely to leave their surviving family members with an estate mess.
What the data shows
The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College has been collecting data on estate plans for decades. The data shows that, since the mid-2000s, there has been a steady drop off in the number of people over the age of 70 who are setting up wills and trusts. From 2008 to 2018, the number of these households with estate plans dropped from 70% to 63%.
A survey that was taken on Caring.com showed that estate plans are even less common in over-55 households. Just 46% of households in this demographic had estate plans in 2023, according to the survey.
Why Americans don’t create estate plans
Americans have a lot of different reasons for not setting up an estate plan, but the most common excuse is procrastination, according to another Caring.com survey. Besides just not doing it yet, the second most common excuse for not having a will is having few assets. Other people say that they simply don’t know how to get started on a will or they think that planning their estate would be too expensive.
Every adult should have an estate plan
Though estate planning does become more urgent the older we get, every adult should have a will, even if you have very few assets. Your will and other components of your estate plan can help designate caregivers for your children and pets, dictate your medical wishes and explain how everything you own should be disbursed. Without any estate plan, your surviving family members are much more likely to get into costly disputes.